Archive for the 'Transcription' Category

Progress Update – 4 to 10 February 2017

By Louise Seaward, on 10 February 2017

Hi everyone.  It’s time for the weekly statistics – what have our volunteers been working on this week?  Transcription is continuing at a nice pace and we owe a huge thanks to everyone who has contributed to the project recently.

17,697 manuscript pages have now been transcribed or partially-transcribed, which is an increase of 37 on last week’s total.  Of these transcripts, 16,691 (94%) have been checked and approved by TB staff.

The more detailed progress chart is as follows:

Box No. of manuscripts worked on No. of manuscripts in box Completion
Box 1 697 795 87%
Box 2 722 753 95%
Box 4 42 694 6%
Box 5 200 290 68%
Box 7 6 169 3%
Box 8 24 284 8%
Box 9 47 266 17%
Box 10 116 459 25%
Box 11 12 480 2%
Box 12 173 615 28%
Box 13 0 359 0%
Box 14 6 514 1%
Box 15 86 814 10%
Box 16 10 254 3%
Box 18 66 193 34%
Box 26 0 389 0%
Box 27 350 350 COMPLETE
Box 29 22 122 18%
Box 30 4 193 2%
Box 31 20 302 6%
Box 32 1 160 1%
Box 34 40 399 10%
Box 35 287 439 65%
Box 36 37 419 8%
Box 37 36 487 7%
Box 38 220 427 51%
Box 39 12 284 4%
Box 41 87 572 15%
Box 42 92 910 10%
Box 44 53 202 26%
Box 47 1 466 1%
Box 50 178 198 89%
Box 51 387 940 41%
Box 52 1 609 1%
Box 54 0 205 0%
Box 57 19 420 4%
Box 60 1 183 1%
Box 62 78 565 13%
Box 63 156 345 45%
Box 70 308 350 88%
Box 71 663 663 COMPLETE
Box 72 614 664 92%
Box 73 151 151 COMPLETE
Box 75 1 77 1%
Box 79 199 199 COMPLETE
Box 81 0  488 0%
Box 87 8 604 1%
Box 95 126 147 85%
Box 96 534 539 99%
Box 97 149 296 50%
Box 98 224 499 44%
Box 100 213 442 48%
Box 104 1 502 1%
Box 106 235 581 40%
Box 107 511 538 94%
Box 110 15 671 2%
Box 115 277 307 90%
Box 116 794 865 91%
Box 117 496 853 58%
Box 118 260 880 29%
Box 119 541 990 54%
Box 120 625 686 90%
Box 121 150 526 28%
Box 122 309 728 42%
Box 123 45 443 10%
Box 124 18 383 4%
Box 135 37 571 6%
Box 139 40 40 COMPLETE
Box 141 94 381 24%
Box 149 87 581 14%
Box 150 972 972 COMPLETE
Box 169 197 728 27%
Add MS 35537 730 744 98%
Add MS 35538 824 858 96%
Add MS 35539 882 948 93%
Add MS 35540 947 1012 93%
Add MS 35541 986 1258 78%
Add MS 35547 33 701 4%
Add MS 35549 24 366 6%
Add MS 35550 88 637 13%
Overall 17,697 40,394 43%

Progress Update – 21 to 27 January 2017

By Louise Seaward, on 27 January 2017

Happy Friday one and all!  We’re here with the latest statistics to tell you how much has been transcribed over the past week.  Our volunteer transcribers have been working hard and we appreciate their efforts as always.

17,610 manuscript pages have now been transcribed or partially-transcribed, which is an increase of 55 on last week’s total.  Of these transcripts, 16,626 (94%) have been checked and approved by TB staff.

The more detailed progress chart is as follows:

Box No. of manuscripts worked on No. of manuscripts in box Completion
Box 1 691 795 86%
Box 2 721 753 95%
Box 4 37 694 5%
Box 5 200 290 68%
Box 7 5 169 2%
Box 8 22 284 7%
Box 9 47 266 17%
Box 10 115 459 25%
Box 11 12 480 2%
Box 12 172 615 27%
Box 14 4 514 1%
Box 15 86 814 10%
Box 16 10 254 3%
Box 18 66 193 34%
Box 27 350 350 COMPLETE
Box 29 22 122 18%
Box 30 4 193 2%
Box 31 19 302 6%
Box 32 0 160 0%
Box 34 40 399 10%
Box 35 287 439 65%
Box 36 37 419 8%
Box 37 36 487 7%
Box 38 206 427 48%
Box 39 12 284 4%
Box 41 87 572 15%
Box 42 92 910 10%
Box 44 53 202 26%
Box 47 0 466 0%
Box 50 178 198 89%
Box 51 387 940 41%
Box 52 1 609 1%
Box 57 19 420 4%
Box 62 78 565 13%
Box 63 155 345 44%
Box 70 308 350 88%
Box 71 663 663 COMPLETE
Box 72 614 664 92%
Box 73 151 151 COMPLETE
Box 75 0 77 0%
Box 79 199 199 COMPLETE
Box 87 2 604 1%
Box 95 126 147 85%
Box 96 534 539 99%
Box 97 148 296 50%
Box 98 224 499 44%
Box 100 212 442 47%
Box 104 1 502 1%
Box 106 235 581 40%
Box 107 509 538 94%
Box 110 15 671 2%
Box 115 277 307 90%
Box 116 794 865 91%
Box 117 495 853 58%
Box 118 258 880 29%
Box 119 540 990 54%
Box 120 596 686 86%
Box 121 150 526 28%
Box 122 309 728 42%
Box 123 45 443 10%
Box 124 17 383 4%
Box 135 36 571 6%
Box 139 40 40 COMPLETE
Box 141 94 381 24%
Box 149 87 581 14%
Box 150 972 972 COMPLETE
Box 169 197 728 27%
Add MS 35537 730 744 98%
Add MS 35538 824 858 96%
Add MS 35539 882 948 93%
Add MS 35540 947 1012 93%
Add MS 35541 986 1258 78%
Add MS 35547 32 701 4%
Add MS 35549 24 366 6%
Add MS 35550 86 637 13%
Overall 17,610 38,770 45%

Funding, collaboration and future directions? Response to ApprentHist blog post on Transcribe Bentham

By Louise Seaward, on 24 January 2017

Just before Christmas, three students who are studying for a Masters in History at Université de Lille 3 wrote a detailed blog on Transcribe Bentham at the ApprentHiST site.  The blog post is written in French but non-French speakers should be able to get a good idea of the content using Google Translate!  Gauthier Herbille, Jeremy Mazet and Axel Petit summarised the workflow of Transcribe Bentham and also offered us a few critiques and questions, which I would like to respond to here.

As Herbille, Mazet and Petit noted, Transcribe Bentham has enjoyed considerable success since it was launched in 2010.  Transcripts produced by our loyal and skilled volunteers feed directly into the work of the Bentham Project, which is producing the definitive scholarly edition of the writings of Jeremy Bentham.  I think the authors are right to suggest that our crowdsourcing initiative would meet with the approval of Bentham himself.  Our volunteers work towards ‘the greatest happiness’, contributing to an academic project that helps us to understand and disseminate the views of an important philosopher.

The blog post raised a number of questions regarding the current and future direction of Transcribe Bentham.  I am going to focus my discussion on three areas of debate: funding, the volunteer community and the distinction between specialists and non-specialists in academia.

I’ll start with the issue of funding.  The authors point out that by asking volunteers to transcribe documents, we are depriving qualified and experienced people of the opportunity to get paid for this kind of work.  This is a valid point but the realities of our funding situation must be acknowledged.  As the authors accept, the financial security of Transcribe Bentham and the Bentham Project is precarious.  The Bentham Project has one permanent, full-time member of staff funded by UCL and the posts of our other staff are funded by short-term research grants.  UCL and other research bodies are unlikely to bestow funding for transcription alone.  The work of volunteers therefore makes it possible for us to collect transcriptions at rate which would be otherwise impossible, representing a significant cost-saving for the Bentham Project (Causer, Grint, Sichani and Terras, forthcoming).

Herbille, Mazet and Petit also lament that Transcribe Bentham lacks a robust user community.  Tim Causer and Valerie Wallace explored this issue in an early article on Transcribe Bentham and many of their findings still stand.  Their research showed that users were generally failing to take advantage of the social features of the Mediawiki system, such as user profiles and collaborative transcription (Causer and Wallace, 2012).  This reticence may have stemmed partly from technical issues on the site and it could also be a product of the relatively small size of our volunteer cohort.  We may need many more active transcribers before communication really takes off!  But the sense of community in Transcribe Bentham manifests itself in other ways – most volunteers are in semi-regular contact with me and they receive recognition and feedback on every transcript they submit.  Their diligent work makes it clear that they are very committed to the goals of our project, even if they may be a little quiet!

Finally, the blog provides some interesting food for thought on the distinction between specialists and non-specialists in the academic world.  Herbille, Mazet and Petit draw on James Surowiecki’s notion of the ‘wisdom of crowds’ to suggest that a large, diverse group of volunteers may be more likely to produce accurate transcriptions than a very small group of trained researchers.  This begs the question of how far we should rely on the work of experts…  In Transcribe Bentham, we aim to combine the contributions of our ‘crowd’ with the scholarly oversight and input of Bentham Project staff.  For the moment, we are not heading in the direction of social scholarly editing where user-generated content is integrated directly into a published edition.  Social scholarly editing raises complicated questions about reliability and consistency and is also difficult to achieve in the medium of print where space is at a premium.  Kenneth M. Price’s work on the Walt Whitman Archive suggests some interesting ways that the public could help to enhance digital editions though translation and annotation.  These user contributions could end up making editions more attractive to a wider audience outside of academia (Price, 2016).  The collaboration between researcher and public in Transcribe Bentham may seem simplistic in comparison, but it works for us right now!

Our thanks go to Gauthier Herbille, Jeremy Mazet and Axel Petit for engaging with our project and giving us this chance to reflect on the advantages and disadvantages of scholarly crowdsourcing.

References:

T. Causer and V. Wallace, ‘Building  Volunteer Community: Results and Findings from Transcribe Bentham‘, Digital Humanities Quarterly, 6, 2 (2012)

T. Causer, K. Grint, A-M. Sichani and M. Terras, 2016, ‘’Making such bargain’: Transcribe Bentham and the quality and cost-effectiveness of crowdsourced transcription’, (forthcoming article)

K. M. Price, ‘The Walt Whitman Archive and the prospects of social editing‘, Digital Scholarship in the Humanities (2016) DOI: 10.1093/llc/fqw056

Progress Update – 14 to 20 January 2017

By Louise Seaward, on 20 January 2017

Hi everyone!  It’s time for us to give a round-up of our latest statistics – how many pages were transcribed this week?  As ever, we owe a big thanks to our volunteers for their efforts.

17,555 manuscript pages have now been transcribed or partially-transcribed, which is an increase of 42 on last week’s total.  Of these transcripts, 16,548 (94%) have been checked and approved by TB staff.

The more detailed progress chart is as follows:

Box No. of manuscripts worked on No. of manuscripts in box Completion
Box 1 687 795 86%
Box 2 721 753 95%
Box 4 37 694 5%
Box 5 200 290 68%
Box 7 5 169 2%
Box 8 22 284 7%
Box 9 47 266 17%
Box 10 115 459 25%
Box 11 12 480 2%
Box 12 166 615 26%
Box 14 4 514 1%
Box 15 86 814 10%
Box 16 10 254 3%
Box 18 66 193 34%
Box 27 350 350 COMPLETE
Box 29 22 122 18%
Box 30 4 193 2%
Box 31 19 302 6%
Box 32 0 160 0%
Box 34 40 399 10%
Box 35 287 439 65%
Box 36 37 419 8%
Box 37 36 487 7%
Box 38 198 427 45%
Box 39 12 284 4%
Box 41 87 572 15%
Box 42 92 910 10%
Box 44 53 202 26%
Box 47 0 466 0%
Box 50 178 198 89%
Box 51 387 940 41%
Box 52 1 609 1%
Box 57 19 420 4%
Box 62 78 565 13%
Box 63 155 345 44%
Box 70 308 350 88%
Box 71 663 663 COMPLETE
Box 72 614 664 92%
Box 73 151 151 COMPLETE
Box 75 0 77 0%
Box 79 199 199 COMPLETE
Box 87 2 604 1%
Box 95 126 147 85%
Box 96 534 539 99%
Box 97 148 296 50%
Box 98 224 499 44%
Box 100 212 442 47%
Box 104 1 502 1%
Box 106 235 581 40%
Box 107 508 538 94%
Box 110 15 671 2%
Box 115 277 307 90%
Box 116 794 865 91%
Box 117 495 853 58%
Box 118 258 880 29%
Box 119 540 990 54%
Box 120 575 686 83%
Box 121 150 526 28%
Box 122 309 728 42%
Box 123 45 443 10%
Box 124 17 383 4%
Box 135 21 571 3%
Box 139 40 40 COMPLETE
Box 141 94 381 24%
Box 149 87 581 14%
Box 150 972 972 COMPLETE
Box 169 197 728 27%
Add MS 35537 730 744 98%
Add MS 35538 824 858 96%
Add MS 35539 882 948 93%
Add MS 35540 947 1012 93%
Add MS 35541 986 1258 78%
Add MS 35547 32 701 4%
Add MS 35549 24 366 6%
Add MS 35550 86 637 13%
Overall 17,555 38,770 45%

Money, money money – progress update from Dr Michael Quinn

By Louise Seaward, on 17 January 2017

Below is an update from Dr Michael Quinn of the Bentham Project.  He gives some details of his editorial work on Bentham’s Writings on Political Economy and asks for help in transcribing the remaining documents from Boxes 1 and 2.

Money, money money

It’s high time to check-in with the TB volunteers and to provide an update on progress with editing Bentham’s Writings on Political Economy. I’m happy to report that all your efforts on transcribing box 150 are now coming to fruition with the submission of the draft text of Vol. III, Writings on Preventive Police, to the critical-corrective pencil of the General Editor. With luck and a following wind, we should be in a position to post the text of the volume on the Project website around the end of 2017. I’ll speak a little about some more Benthamic gems in Vol. III in another blog, but now I’d like to say a little about Vol. IV of Writings on Political Economy, which will contain Bentham’s Annuity Note scheme.

Thanks to TB volunteers, only 135 folios have yet to be tackled (103 in Box 1 and 32 in Box 2).  This is in large part thanks to the efforts of TB user Phillip Fawcet, whose Herculean labours on Box 1 have not gone unnoticed.

Early investigations have turned up a sustained discussion of Adam Smith’s view that paper money could not increase wealth, since it simply served to drive out metallic money (Wealth of Nations (Glasgow Edition), i. 300–1). The sequence begins in Bentham’s hand, and is completed in that of a copyist. We knew that Bentham disagreed with Smith, and Werner Stark, who edited the only previous edition of Bentham’s writings in this area, mentions this discussion in passing, but it has never been published. It will (if I have anything to do with it) finally appear in the new volume:

‘Another supposition is—that the commerce is the same, that is the quantity of wealth constituting the subject-matter of commerce is the same, that is, or at least may be, no greater after the introduction of a mass of paper money to any amount than it would have been without it. But this is altogether impossible, for:

  1. If the quantity of that which passes for money has been encreased, it is impossible but that the quantity of wealth of all sorts (unless the money, as in Spain, were sent out of the country without being expended in it) should not have encreased likewise.
  2. It can make no difference in this respect whether that which passes for money be gold and silver money, or paper money, so long as paper money is received for its nominal amount. A week’s labour for which the master-manufacturer pays a guinea, and the labourer receives a guinea, whether that labour were paid for by a guinea in gold, or by a £1 note and a shilling, the produce of that labour and the value of that produce is just the same. True it is, that if the £1 note be burnt, or—what comes to the same thing, whether because the payment of the £ in hard cash is refused by the issuer, or from whatever other cause—nobody will receive it, no more labour will be produced by that same note: but by the annihilation of the note the result of that labour will not be annihilated: if so many feet of walling have been built with it, the note may cease to pass current, but the Wall will not on that account fall down. It will be no more in danger of falling down than if the money with which the Bricklayer had been paid for it had been hard cash.
  3. It is only by an addition made to the quantity of money (metallic or paper) held out to labouring hands that the quantity of other species of wealth can—barter out of the question—receive any encrease. For (barter out of the question) who is it that will perform labour without being paid for it?—and—barter out of the question—wherewith can a man be paid for his work, but with money?’ (UCL Special Collections, Bentham Papers, Box I, fo. 309–10, transcribed by Phillip Fawcet)

 

001_309_001

UCL Special Collections, Bentham Papers, Box I, fo. 309

 

UCL Special Collections, Bentham Papers, Box 1, fo. 310.

UCL Special Collections, Bentham Papers, Box I, fo. 310.

Bentham accuses Smith of begging the question, and concludes that ‘the currency of any given quantity of it [i.e. paper money] depends much more upon the temper of the times, upon the opinion casually entertained of it, than upon the ratio of its amount to the amount of metallic money; and if there be in this respect a maximum or greatest ratio beyond which the proportion of paper money to metallic money cannot be carried, the Author does not appear to have given any sufficient reason for fixing that maximum at the point at which he appears to fix it’ (UCL Special Collections, Bentham Papers, Box I, fo. 314, transcribed by Keith Thompson and G. L. J. Willis).

I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the attempt to edit Bentham’s other discussions of Smith, and trying to reconstruct his unexpurgated draft of ‘Circulating Annuities’. In the meantime, I need to ask the transcribers for one more heave to finish the transcription of Boxes 1 and 2. It will be worth it in the end …